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  • Shanique Allen

Honoring Your Wellness Beyond Weight

Honoring Your Wellness Beyond Weight by Shanique Allen for SOULACY Magazine Image: Smiling woman holding hand weights in front of a white background

Taking care of your health means managing your weight through diet and exercise. At least that’s the perception many of us seem to have when first embarking on a ‘health’ journey. 

Even if health markers need to be improved upon or other non-weight outcomes need to be achieved, the prevailing idea is often that those things can only change if we ‘lose the weight [first]’.

This thinking is through no fault of our own. Weight has long been sighted as the reason for any existing or perceived health issues. It’s also perceived as being a behavior that we have 100% control over… ‘if only we fix our eating and get some exercise’. It’s perpetuated within everyday culture and upheld by the systemic oppression of marginalized groups of people. 

The problem with this view and practice is multi-fold.

It boils health down to: 

  • an individual’s ability to control their weight and/or body size, 

  • it treats weight as a behavior and a predictor of disease

  • and creates stigma against folks in diverse and larger bodies. 

But the biggest disservice of all is the perception that one’s weight is an indicator of worth and value, and a measure of success is tending to your wellness, among other things.

Oh how we’ve been hoodwinked.

Wanting weight or body change is not inherently a bad thing. What is a bad thing is believing that you aren’t honoring your health and wellness should it not change or fit what is deemed ‘acceptable’. Not only is it robbing you of joy, peace of mind, energy and a vibrant life, it’s crippling your ability to show up as your whole self.

So, what if instead of narrowing your wellness down to the bare bones of weight or body size, you expanded it to embody your whole well-being.

Your Weight is Not a Behavior You Can Control

To do that, first understand that your weight or your pants size for that matter, is not a behavior. 

It is a metric that may or may not change, for a myriad of reasons, whether or not you engage in any number of health promoting behaviors.

And while modifying behaviors to impact health is something 100% within your control e.g. getting exercise, eating more consistently, adding nutrient dense foods, and taking care of your mental health, the weight, shape and size of your body is not.

Embrace Your Body Diversity

Furthermore, we could all eat the same foods, do the same types of physical activity and still have bodies looking very different from each other.

This is largely because there are other factors that impact your weight, your body size and your overall health. These include but aren’t limited to genetics, history of disordered eating or eating disorders (which ironically arise out of said efforts to control weight), environmental stress, trauma, access to food and water, emotional and mental health support, race, and access to healthcare. 

For these very reasons, and more, we are always going to be surrounded by bodies of varying sizes, shapes, types, and compositions that will also shift throughout a lifetime. This means that health is going to look and behave differently on every kind of body. Learning therefore to respect and honor that diversity lends itself to a more expansive view of wellness.

Your Wellness is Multidimensional

To that end, your wellness is a holistic amalgamation of not just your physical, but your emotional, intellectual, spiritual, financial, occupational, environmental, and social wellness, as well.

It’s looking at the entirety of your well-being. 

In the grand scheme of your life, being able to tend to the things that are most important and add the greatest value such that you can show up and participate in your life in the way you want, IS what wellness facilitates.

Put differently, your wellness allows you to be fully, authentically, and wholly yourself.

Now the goal isn’t to have all aspects of your wellness in perfect balance…cause let’s be honest, balance is bullshit! Rather it’s to create a harmony that meets your needs, values, and priorities, while recognizing that they may shift from season to season, and as you move from one stage of life to another. And because you are living in a diverse body with differing needs and priorities, it is only natural that the actions you take in pursuit of harmony for yourself will differ greatly from someone else.

It also means any outcomes you experience from whatever habits you establish will likely vary as well. Whether your weight changes or not, doesn’t make your way of pursuing wellness worse or better off than someone else, it simply makes it different. 

Self-Awareness is Key

With this in mind, adopting habits to honor your wellness beyond your weight becomes a practice of building self-awareness. This means getting to know yourself on the deepest and most intimate of levels. It’s paying attention to who you are, noting where your strengths lie and with what your weaknesses reside. It’s paying attention to the environment within which you exist and the spaces you occupy. And whether they are contributing to creating the harmony you desire.

It may look like noticing when you’re feeling overwhelmed and acknowledge a need for support. It can look like setting a self-boundary to opt out of late night TV so you can focus on a better night’s sleep. It could even look like acknowledging the ways you’ve been judgemental and unkind to yourself because your body has changed unfavorably, in spite of your efforts. It might also look like investing in systems of accountability and personal development to upgrade your mindset and overcome tendencies for self-sabotage.

Keeping a finger on the pulse of your self-awareness, sets you up to not only identify what needs to be done to create lifestyle change you seek, but how to implement repeatedly to make such changes happen, as well as when to shift and pivot should priorities and capabilities change. In other words, self-awareness is a key component to creating and changing recurring behaviors, aka habits, and habits are the things that do impact your wellness and quality of life.

So when you’re looking to honor and/or shift your wellness, go beyond the singular outcome of weight and ask what modifiable behaviors might you need to adopt and what strategies (including support) might you need to employ to make them stick to create harmony.  Such a practice paves the way for transformation and healing far beyond just a physical one.

Your life is not static and neither is your health and wellness. 

So in the lifetime endeavor of creating harmony across the dimensions of your wellness, remember that your body in its weight, shape, or size may, and will likely, change. It is okay. It is normal and it will be the least interesting thing anyone will remember about you.

You can live, love, and honor your well-being in spite of your weight.


A multipassionate solopreneur, Shanique Allen is a nutrition strategist and mindset coach, researcher and writer. After experiencing burnout from playing competitive sports, years of restrictive dieting and running a business solo with zero boundaries, she burnt everything she thought she knew about ‘health and wellness’ to the ground and started from scratch. Out of this she created her signature framework to help other women un-diet their headspace and their habits so they could nourish their whole selves joyfully and healthily. She can be found on her blog, instagram and podcast regularly challenging the diet culture narrative of health, and inviting folks to embrace their whole selves not just their aesthetics, ditch the diet mentality and foster wellness and health habits they can thrive on no matter what happens in life.



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